The three-team-trade involving New Orleans Hornets Star Chris Paul to the LA Lakers, while sending Pao Gasol, and Lamar Odom, to the Houston Rockets and the Hornets, as well as Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic from the Rockets to the Hornets for a 2012 1st Round Draft Pick, and that was nixed by the NBA is still, in this second day of news about it, freshly shocking. The NBA’s stated reason – “basketball related” – is also of note, because the two words imply the issues behind the action are not business-related at all.
A blockbuster trade like that one always has a positive impact on overall team franchise value. That is, it causes increases in sales for both per-game and season tickets, which leads to more revenue for the organization – that drives franchise value.
The LA Lakers arguably stood to gain the greatest increase in franchise value considering they not only failed to reach the 2011 NBA Finals, but were swept in four games by the eventual NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, and lost their legendary coach Phil Jackson to retirement. There was every reason to assert that the Lakers had lost that aura, the look of a winner. And in a weak economy, especially in California, that could spell lackluster ticket sales, negatively impacting franchise value.
The Chris Paul trade would have changed the Lakers fortunes overnight, as well as those for the Rockets and the Hornets, too. But, as of this writing, it’s not happening, with efforts underway to revive the deal as this is written.
Even if the deal is restored, it does not erase the bad taste of the NBA’s original action. There’s no good reason for what was done, even as NBA execs try to fashion them. Dan Gilbert’s stated reasons for his objection add up to jealously over the Lakers ability to make such a deal, or “Damn, why did’nt I think of that?” Gilbert:
I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).
So Gilbert is saying he so fears a Lakers team with both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard the NBA should block it.
And as of this writing NBA Commissioner David Stern agrees with him.